Athletics is an exclusive collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing (discus, hammer, javelin, shot put) and walking. The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and race walking. The simplicity of the competitions, and the lack of a need for expensive equipment, makes athletics one of the most commonly competed sports in the world. Organised athletics are traced back to the Ancient Olympic Games from 776 BC, and most modern events are conducted by the member clubs of the International Association of Athletics Federations. The athletics meeting forms the backbone of the modern Summer Olympics, and other leading international meetings include the IAAF World Championships and World Indoor Championships. Athletes with a physical disability compete at the Summer Paralympics and the IPC Athletics World Championships.
Masters athletics is a class of the sport of athletics for veteran athletes in the events of track and field, road running and cross country running. The competitions feature five-year age groups beginning at age 35. Men as old as 104 and women in their 100s have competed in running, jumping and throwing events. Masters are sometimes known as veterans. Since at least the early 1930s, middle-aged athletes in Europe, Australia and New Zealand have competed with younger athletes, especially in cross country and road races. Some were active into their 50s. And on the track, Briton Don Finlay recorded a 14.4-second mark in the 120-yard high hurdles in 1949 at age 40, according to the biennial handbook published by World Masters Athletics. In 1966, San Diego civil lawyer David Pain began organizing what he called "masters miles" at indoor and outdoor track meets, and set the minimum age at 40. He and others soon launched the U.S. National Masters Championships, where everyone 40 and over competed together.